HOW TO CREATE A HAPPY PLACE FOR YOUR EMPLOYEES

by Darnell Dobson, Contributing Writer

The best organizations understand that happy employees are productive employees. As recent years have ushered in an era of open concept workspaces that is untethering workers from their desk and liberating them from their cubicles, some companies are also rethinking the entire workspace structure and what their employees need to really flourish at the office to boost company performance.

Part of the restructuring effort has been focused on work- place amenities that will keep workers engaged and energized and make going to work less of a dreaded chore. Some corporations indulge their employees with free snacks, corporate discounts, and ample vacation days, while others opt for more luxurious perks like on-site exercise gyms, daycare centres, bars, masseuse, nap-pods, lounges and more. As Karen Thomas from American designing firm LPA explains in The Power of Office Amenities in the Workplace, as companies demand increased productivity and efficiency from employees, the workplace becomes more than just a physical structure.

“This push to get more done by fewer staff, while utilizing less square footage, puts increased stress on workers. Longer work hours and ever increasing deadlines add to the challenge of work/life balance. As a result, the workplace environment has become not only a place to work, but a place to innovate, socialize, let off steam, and decompress,” Thomas says. Employees in this new workforce will benefit more from perks and amenities that allow them to socialize and collaborate to relieve the stress of the job and engage their senses to stay motivated.

Things to consider before adding amenities to your workplace

The addition of amenities to your workspace should be careful, deliberate, and 100% in sync with the wants and needs of your employees. Think of it as something you are doing with your employees and not for them. Find out what they want and what they value the most and build from there.

Location, Location, Location!

The type of amenities you are looking to add will have an effect on your physical working environment, the question is how big of an effect. Companies are now aiming to do more with less, so don’t overspend on physically restructuring or relocating your office space to accommodate amenities. Why build a brand new gym on-site if you can find one in your community to partner with and get memberships for your employees?

Culture of your Organization Matters

Amenities should reflect the culture of your company’s work environment. Some companies are high energy and require amenities that keep the blood pumping, while others may call for more relaxation to stimulate creativity. Regard- less of the culture of your organization, what is important to remember is just because it works for another company doesn’t mean it will work for yours.

Ask for Employee Input

Find out what they like and dislike, what they love about their current office space and what they feel is missing. These answers will help you implement the right amenities and lead to a higher probability of overall employee satisfaction.

You can’t please everyone

Not everyone will love or even like the changes you make, however this should be anticipated. No two people are the same but as long as everyone is given equal input and every effort is made to accommodate all employees, you have done your best as a company.

Nothing Lasts Forever

You’ve listened to your employees’ wants and needs, taken your business culture and location into consideration and now you’re ready to proceed with adding the amenities that are perfect for your organization. As you plan, keep in mind that nothing you add will be a permanent fixture. Your business is constantly changing; whether it expands or contracts, eventually you’ll need to make changes.

Luxury Amenities Are Nice, but Don’t Spoil Your Employees. Having a gym or a daycare at the office might be nice, not to mention convenient, however, it is important to remember that luxury amenities are not necessities in the workplace but rather perks to help keep employees happy and motivated. As such, author and public speaker, Jacob Morgan warns that amenities should not be used as part of your core strategy to attract and retain top talent. “Those things are kind of nice bonuses to employees… really you want to create an organization where people have a connection to the company [and] that’s why they work there,” says Morgan. “If you convince employees to work there just because you give them nice things then what happens when you can’t give them nice things [is] they’re going to leave.”

While amenities open a whole new world of possibilities in terms of work- space development and employee wellbeing, it’s important to know what will work best in your company and for your employees. Also, since every workplace is different, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t produce the best results. Doing your homework to find out what your employees want and what will help relieve their stress at work and help them create better work/life balance is the key to uncovering the right amenities that will result in better engagement, increased productivity, and improved wellbeing among employees; which will ultimately lead to greater profitability for your company.